This post discusses two words that relate to both themes of the blog: medical Spanish and learning Spanish, in general.
I was reading an article in a Madrid newspaper about the healthcare reform issue here in the United States. The article began by giving a little background on the current problem of access to healthcare among the uninsured.
The specific phrase that caught my eye was “Para la gran mayoría de personas sin seguro médico, atención médica simplemente no es accesible.” What the author was trying -- but fails -- to say is that healthcare for the great majority of people without insurance is not affordable (no asequible).
Because she used the word “accesible” -- instead of the correct word “asequible” -- what the sentence really says is that healthcare is not available (such as in the geographic sense: no doctors for miles, or something like that…).
“Para la gran mayoría de personas sin seguro medico, atención medica simplemente no es asequible” means that atención medica is not affordable, or not available for economic reasons…
“Para la gran mayoría de personas sin seguro médico, atención médica simplemente no es accesible” translates to “for the majority of people without medical insurance, healthcare is simply not available (because there are no doctors for one hundred miles – which indeed might be the case, but not because they lack insurance)
Asequible = affordable (or also obtainable or available, more in the economic sense)
Accesible = reachable, accessible, “handy”
For example, to play with words and say something like, "Here is a Porsche, within my reach but out of reach", you would say "Aca hay un Porsche, accesible para mi (beacuse I'm standing right beside it), pero no es asequible (because it costs to much).